There was a new face in the Toronto FC house Monday. Former LA Galaxy, Chivas and Portland Timbers forward Alan Gordon made his first appearance at a Toronto practice session. In the cool, windy conditions at Cherry beach, the Long Beach california native took part in drills and worked on some core fitness, fresh off a flight earlier in the day from the west coast. Gordon would have loved to have been with his teammate’s in Vancouver for the opener, but a passport mishap, or misplacement got in the way of those plans.
Toronto FC worked more on possession play from the back line at practice Monday. The teams obvious weakness in a season opening loss in Vancouver. To these eyes TFC is not far off being a much tougher team to play against than what we have seen over the last two seasons.
Toronto coach Aaron Winter is hammering home possession, possession and passion. The latter should come from within each and every player without being urged on by a coach. There were moments of frustration made very clear during Mondays practice. Passes too far ahead or even worse, behind fellow back line players working the ball up from the keeper. The latter is what will kill TFC is they don’t correct it before they breeze through the first ten games of the season.
In my opinion, Toronto FC would be better served playing Adrian Cann in the middle and not as an outside back working up the line. Cann is a ball hawk, a hunter. Sure he will, like any player misread a ball or two. But Adrian’s strength is winning balls in the air and filling space in the middle with that big frame of his. Running and chasing down the line is not where I would think he would be at HIS best.
The position of outside defenders has been somewhat of a mystery, or revolving door for TFC over the last couple years. In my mind, if you seek stability in any one area of your team, it is likely on the back line. Players need to rely on one another, communication so vital to their success as a group. When to push, when to cover for a teammate etc etc. This group needs to settle quickly on who it See’s as its back line, and practice them, pair them, room them together until they know each other inside and out.
Midfielders need to react and show for the ball quicker then was the case Saturday in Vancouver. There were too many moments again where defenders with the ball jogged up the pitch with their hands out to their sides as if to say “where are you guys?, I have the ball and i would like to give it to someone”
Santos and DeRosario will score. If Maicon stays in the middle and just shields the ball, turns and has a few cracks, he will score his share of goals with that thunderous left foot. These two started to feel a little chemistry together last season before Maicon was injured. I think that chemistry is not far off already, and that’s a good sign at the start of a long season that will surely have plenty of highs and lows.